The American animation industry may have little to no use for traditional animation when it comes to wide-release theatrical movies, but in other countries... It's a whole different story.
Game-changing Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon and founder/director Tomm Moore, the good folks behind The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, are readying a new fantasy epic called Wolfwalkers. The same studio is also working on another traditionally animated film that should be out by the end of this year, that picture is The Breadwinner. When Wolfwalkers debuts... I don't know.
We've seen things from Wolfwalkers for a little while now. A film that Moore describes as the "final panel of Cartoon Saloon's "Irish folklore triptych," it tells the story of a young apprentice hunter named Robin Goodfellowe, who is set to help her father exterminate the last pack of wolves in the area. After saving a native girl in the forest, she meets the Wolfwalkers. She becomes one of them, putting her life at risk.
Today, a sort of "concept trailer" was posted by Cartoon Brew...
Like the last two films from this studio, it looks very atmospheric. The teaser also promises an intense, beautifully-directed story that isn't afraid to go down some dark paths. The staging of the deer running through the woods is a standout moment, the kind of staging that you can indeed get in a traditionally animated picture without conspicuous CGI.
Once this film is completed, I have a feeling GKIDS will probably handle the US distribution, like they did with Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, and presumably The Breadwinner. I'd argue that right now, Cartoon Saloon is leading a sort of 2D charge on the other side of the Atlantic, while keeping innovation in animation alive. They don't blow mega-budgets on these things (Kells and Song, combined, cost less than $15 million to make), and yet they look every bit as dazzling as the hyper-real films we churn out here for roughly $80 million apiece. They're more exciting to me, because they truly take advantage of animation as a medium, instead of trying to closely recreate real life. If only context-ignoring executives here in the states got the memo...
What say you?